Late-blooming Rabbitohs cult hero happy to act the GOAT
JORDAN. Woods. Bradman. Nicholls.
Mark Nicholls has been dubbed the GOAT and while the greatest-ofall-time tag initially didn’t sit well with the South Sydney prop, it is something he has grown to embrace.
Nicholls has become the NRL’s new cult hero on the way to qualifying for his first grand final.
An NRL journeyman from country NSW, Nicholls has developed into a key cog at the Rabbitohs and a regular starting front-rower.
With his bald head, beard and nofrills style, Nicholls is a fan favourite across the game. But he was initially embarrassed by his new-found fame.
“I’m clearly not the GOAT so at the beginning I was getting a bit embarrassed about it all,” he said.
“With my personality, I don’t mind flying under the radar, especially in a team with so many superstars.
“It probably started a couple of years ago when I first came to the club. My wife and I laughed at it. A few of the guys used to get on Instagram and almost pay me out saying I was the GOAT but also how was I still in the team?
“A few fans picked up on it last year and it snowballed a little this season. At the back end of the season it exploded a little bit. Score a few tries and people call you the GOAT. It’s all in good fun.”
Nicholls, 31, is one of rugby league’s great success stories. He came through the lower grades at Canberra but only managed 19 NRL games across four seasons from 2012-15.
Nicholls didn’t play an NRL game in 2016 but had nine appearances for Melbourne Storm in 2017.
Then he secured a one-year deal with the Rabbitohs under former coach Anthony Seibold in 2018.
Nicholls has now played 81 games for Souths and is the only player to have featured in all 26 matches for the Rabbitohs this year.